For most, we think that memory will be a positive one, especially as the years go by and the move proves to be the financial, marketing and on-field success that its backers predict. We predict Cobb residents will feel an “ownership” of the Braves to an unprecedented degree and going to a game will be a much more frequent and even “spur of the moment” activity than has previously been the case.
The Braves are one of Major League Baseball’s most popular and most closely followed teams around the country, thanks in large part to Ted Turner’s visionary decision four decades ago to start cablecasting Braves games around the country. And there is little doubt in our minds the Braves will quickly find themselves entrenched in Cobb and sharing “local icon” status with such stalwart local companies as Lockheed Martin, Home Depot and Genuine Parts.
The move likely would not have happened, and certainly would not have been accomplished as smoothly, without the leadership of Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who after being introduced to Braves leaders by intermediary state Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, was able to quietly lay the groundwork needed on the Cobb end for the move. Lee has been criticized for keeping the public in the dark for too long, but had word of the Braves’ plans leaked out prematurely there’s no doubt the deal would have crumbled. Yes, he moved quickly to have the commission vote on the move once it was announced, but it was clear many of those asking for “delay” were actually looking for reasons to kill the deal.
As it was, Lee was able to put together a majority of the commission to support the move, one that will cost most Cobb residents only a nominal amount in taxes (just $26 per year for the owner of a $200,000 house, for example). In return, Cobb stands to gain not just the prestige of becoming home base for one of the country’s most storied and most profitable sports franchises, but also millions of dollars in additional sales tax revenues generated not just by those going to the games, but those enjoying the new entertainment plaza outside the stadium, and by those traveling from afar to see the games and then staying in Cobb hotels and eating in Cobb restaurants, etc.
EACH JANUARY for five decades the Marietta Daily Journal has honored those men and women who, through their soaring accomplishments and contributions, have led the way in making our community the best. Past recipients of the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb Citizen of the Year Award, which is handed out at the annual banquet of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, have included former Gov. Roy Barnes, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, former Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson, retired Kennesaw State University President Dr. Betty Siegel, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, late Marietta Mayor Joe Mack Wilson, former Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens, Strand Theatre executive director Earl Reece, Marietta Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck and last year’s winner, S.A. White Oil Co. President and community activist Kim Gresh.
This newspaper has not always agreed with Lee’s decisions and no doubt will take issue with him in the future as well. But Tim Lee’s successful strategizing in 2013 that landed the Braves for Cobb more than earns him a place among the esteemed names cited above. And those efforts make him the obvious choice as the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb Citizen of the Year for 2013.